Book Reviews

I was reading the reviews on Amazon of the book "Friday" that was written by Robert Heinlein. The main character in the book is a courier for a secret organization. She is captured in the first part of the book and her captors use rape as an interrogation method. Several of the people that reviewed the book mention the rape scene.For example:Twenty pages into the novel she tells us that gang-rape comes with the dangerous territory of being a courier(!), so she might as well enjoy it as much as possible (?!?!).The treatment of the rape is insulting. Not only does she feel totally fine about it (even marrying one of her rapists later) but then she cries when she gets lost in the woods or when she BURNED POTATOES. At that point I threw the novel around the room a few times and swore not to read anymore, but it was about 200 pages in, so...
I don't believe the book truly suggest that she enjoys the rape. My take on this section of the book is that as a trained intelligence agent she is attempting to manipulate her captors. But read the section and see what you think.Here is the rape scene from the book
But why waste time by raping me? This whole operation had amateurish touches. No professional group uses either beating or rape before interrogation today; there is no profit in it; any professional is trained to cope with either or both. For rape she (or he-I hear it's worse for males) can either detach the mind and wait for it to be over, or (advanced training) emulate the ancient Chinese adage.

Or, in place of method A or B, or combined with B if the agent's histrionic ability is up to it, the victim can treat rape as an opportunity to gain an edge over her captors. I'm no great shakes as an actress but I try and, while it has never enabled me to turn the tables on unfriendlies, at least once it kept me alive.

This time method C did not affect the outcome but did cause a little healthy dissension. Four of them (my estimate from touch and body odors) had me in one of the upstairs bedrooms. It may have been my own room but I could not be certain as I had been unconscious for a while and was now dressed (solely) in adhesive tape over my eyes. They had me on a mattress on the floor, a gang bang with minor sadism. . . which I ignored, being very busy with method C.

In my mind I called them "Straw Boss" (seemed to be in charge), "Rocks" (they called him that-rocks in his head, probably), "Shorty" (take that either way), and "the other one" as he did not have distinctive characteristics.

I worked on all of them-method acting, of course-reluctant, have to be forced, then gradually your passion overcomes you; you just can't help yourself. Any man will believe that routine; they are suckers for it-but I worked especially hard on Straw Boss as I hoped to achieve the status of teacher's pet or some such. Straw Boss wasn't so bad; methods B and C combined nicely.

But I worked hardest on Rocks because with him it had to be C combined with A; his breath was so foul. He wasn't too clean in other ways, too; it took great effort to ignore it and make my responses flattering to his macho ego.

After he became flaccid he said, "Mac, we're wasting our time. This slut enjoys it."
"So get out of the way and give the kid another chance. He's ready."
"Not yet. I'm going to slap her around, make her take us seriously." He let me have a big one, left side of my face. I yelped.
"Cut that out!" -Straw Boss's voice.
"Who says so? Mac, you're getting too big for your britches."
"I say so." It was a new voice, very loud-amplified-from the sound-system speaker in the ceiling, no doubt. "Rocky, Mac is your squad leader, you know that. Mac, send Rocky to me; I want a word with him."
"Major, I was just trying to help!"
"You heard the man, Rocks," Straw Boss said quietly. "Grab your pants and get moving."
Suddenly the man's weight was no longer on me and his stinking breath was no longer in my face. Happiness is relative.
The voice in the ceiling spoke again: "Mac, is it true that Miss Friday simply enjoys the little ceremony we arranged for her?"
"It's possible, Major," Straw Boss said slowly. "She does act like it."
"How about it, Friday? Is this the way you get your kicks?"
I didn't answer his question. Instead I discussed him and his family in detail, with especial attention to his mother and sister. If I had told him the truth-that Straw Boss would be rather pleasant under other circumstances, that Shorty and the other man did not matter one way or the other, but that Rocks was an utter slob whom I would cancel at the first opportunity-it would have blown method C.

"The same to you, sweetie," the voice answered cheerfully. "I hate to disappoint you but I'm a crèche baby. Not even a wife, much less a mother or a sister. Mac, put the cuffs on her and throw a blanket over her. But don't give her a shot; I'll be talking to her later."

Amateur. My boss would never have alerted a prisoner to expect interrogation.
"Hey, crèche baby!"
"Yes, dear?"
I accused him of a vice not requiring a mother or a sister but anatomically possible-so I am told-for some males. The voice answered, "Every night, hon. It's very soothing."
So mark one up for the Major. I decided that, with training, he could have been a pro. Nevertheless he was a bloody amateur and I didn't respect him. He had wasted one, maybe two, of his ables, caused me unnecessarily to suffer bruises, contusions, and multiple personal indignities-even heartbreaking ones had I been an untrained female-and had wasted two hours or more. If my boss had been doing it, the prisoner would have spilled his/her guts at once and spent those two hours spouting her fullest memoirs into a recorder.

So after reading the section and for those of you that have read the whole book what do you think? I don't think that this section indicates that she enjoyed the rape but was attempting to manipulate her captors.
Opposing viewpoints?

Comments

Speaking of amateurs...

At that point I threw the novel around the room a few times and swore not to read anymore, but it was about 200 pages in, so...

At this point in a "review" I am likely to snarl and then growl, "Goddamned idiot!"

I get so tired of unsophisticated readers who don't know enough about Heinlein to read his juveniles intelligently coming up with these pompous ass, grand proclamations about what a weirdo he was. Friday was a professional mercenary. She knew very well that rape and torture were highly probable given her work, and she had been well briefed on how to deal with it. It says so right in the book; which you quoted. Does she marry one of the rapists later? Yes, after giving him a more than fair trial, since under those other circumtances she would have been perfectly in her rights to kill him on the spot. What this "reviewer" couldn't seem to graps is the different contexts of her meeting this rapist and his own situation. Same as for burning the potatoes. Different times, different responses. Dufus needs to get a life.

If anyone would like to know more about Heinlein, you can study a few of his personal prejudices here, in my quotations files, in the section on his personal writing. If you are not a sophisticated reader, don't bother with the Collective Heresies of Lazarus Long. You won't get them any more than dufus would.

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